The Backstory

The Backstory is our long-running interview series where we sit down with our reporters and ask them to take us behind the scenes of their work. Listen and subscribe on SoundCloud, Apple Podcasts, and Spotify.

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The Backstory: John Carlos Frey

John Carlos Frey talks about what motivates him as a journalist, and how he came to investigate the actions of the US Border Patrol. Frey discusses his unique perspective on the border, having been immersed in both American and Mexican culture, and he also explains how he gets his pieces noticed by mainstream media, think-tanks, and policy makers in Washington, DC.


The Backstory: Joshua E.S. Phillips

Investigative Fund reporter Joshua E.S. Phillips discusses the “Detainee Abuse Task Force” which was created in Iraq to investigative allegations of cruel treatment of detainees. Despite their handling of hundreds of cases, not a single one led to a court martial hearing. Phillips discusses the culture of torture that may persist within the Army as a result of impunity for abuses committed during the Bush administration.


The Backstory: Kiera Feldman

Kiera Feldman talks about immersion journalism, how she decided join a Birthright trip to Israel, what it was like to watch Birthrighters “check their liberalism at Zionism’s door,” and the responses to her piece from the Jewish media.


The Backstory: Aram Roston

Veteran investigative reporter Aram Roston shares his experiences embedding with the military, explains when it’s best to remain unembedded, and offers advice to anyone reporting from a conflict zone for the first time.


The Backstory: Sheila Kaplan

She’s uncovered suppressed scientific reports on Great Lakes pollution and toxic FEMA trailers and sniffed out the ways Sarah Palin’s environmental policies may help create “special needs kids” in Alaska. Here Sheila Kaplan talks about how to cultivate sources and follow a document trail.